The So-Called Taisekiji Succession Documents
If the so-called transfer documents from Nichiren to Nikko were at Taisekiji, why did [Nichiko] Hori Shonin, acclaimed as the most outstanding Buddhist scholar in modern Nichiren Shoshu history, in the “Essential Writings of Fuji School Vol. 1, p. 33, say that he had to rely on the copies of “Seven Teachings on the Gohonzon” and “On the Birth of the Original Buddha” that were not kept at Taisekiji Temple?
Nichiko "Shonin" writes,:
“I copied the copies made by Nichizan of Awa Province”
Rev. Tetsujo Kubota, from Kempon Hokke Shu, makes the following points:
Taisekiji claims that in the ninth month of the fifth year of Koan (1282) at Minobu and on the thirteenth day of of the tenth month at Ikegami Nikko received succession documents from the Great Saint. Taisekiji boasts to world calling these the “Two Successions” (Nika sojo). But these two are forgeries and on the contrary hurt the reputation of their own patriarch Nikko. We shall try to give the reasons below:
(1) If Nikko had been give the approval by the Great Saint with so much as these “Two Successions”, he would have naturally performed the office of Chief Officiant at the time of Nichiren Shonin’s funeral.
However, in reality the forward echelon had Nichiro and the rear echelon Nissho; Nikko was on the left side of the rear echelon.
(2) If the “Two Successions” were true, there would have been no necessity for choosing the Six Senior Monks and so on and if he had chosen them he would have made Nikko first.
The Six Senior Monks were said to be not in order but they are listed in order of having become the disciples.
(3) In “Two Successions” it says, “if the Ruler of the Country establishes this Dharma (Truth), erect at Mount Fuji the Precept Platform of the Temple of the Original Doctrine (Hommonji no Kaidan).
However, according to the “Matters that the Whole Fuji Following Is to Know” (Fuji isseki monto Zonchi no koto), a credible record of Nikko, Nikko says,
“The previous teacher did not set which province and which place. But the general rule of the Buddha Dharma is to choose the very best place to erect the temple.
And that being so, Mount Fuji in Suruga is the most famous mountain in Japan. Therefore, they should erect it here.”
Thus the “former teacher” Nichiren did not fix any place where they should build the Precept Platform of the Temple of the Original Doctrine (Hommonji no Kaidan).
From this fact the “Two Successions” are forgeries.
(4) As to Nikko’s departure from Minobu, had the Two Successions been genuine, he would have certainly rejoiced to go to Fuji. However, in reality, as recorded, he felt regret.
For the above reasons the “two Successions” are bare‑faced forgeries. Even in the Nikko Lineage thoughtful people deny the “Two Successions”.
Next, let us try to consider the division of Nichiren’s mementoes. In contrast to Nissho, who received “the Annotated Hokekyo” and Nichiro who received an “Object of Worship: one Standing Statue of Shakya”, Nikko received only “a Horse (one); saddle; tabi; hat; kosode” and so on.
We may tell by looking at Nikko’s “Reply to Lord Hara” that Nikko himself felt dissatisfied by this division of mementoes:
“in place of the Buddha which Daikoku Acharya seized away….” To write that the distribution of mementoes was “seizing” is not reasonable.
Now in Nikko’s “Reply to Lord Hara” he says,
“Is not the Doctrine of Nichiren Shonin the doctrine that, though it is the Tathagata Shakya who is the Original Teacher Who First Gave Rise to the Mind of Enlightenment for the sake of the beings of the Three Worlds, they abandon Him and rely on the Buddha Amida, and so become people who commit the Five Rebellious Sins and fall to the Unremitting Hell?” and so he reverences the Buddha Shakya as the Original Teacher. Or again Nikko states in reverence “the Master of Teachings Lord Shakya of Namu Myoho renge kyo who is the Fundamental Intention (honkai) for Nichiren Shonin’s coming forth in the world”.
In the current Taisekiji Branch of the Lineage of Nikko’s Disciples (Nichiren Shoshu and the Sokagakkai) they assert that Shakya is a “husk Buddha” and Nichiren is the Original Buddha, “Shakya is like a husk of a cicada and it is Nichiren who is the Original (True) Buddha”. The origin of that assertion is from a reaction to the fact that in the distribution of mementoes the image of the Master of Teachings Lord Shakya which Nichiren Shonin kept all his life went to Nichiro’s Lineage.
By the way, after the Great Saint’s decease, the second and third battlelines (generations) in each lineage began to spread the teachings in each region at the risk of their very lives, but, by contrast, as the generations went on from the third to the fourth generation they followed self-interest and asserted that their own lineage had Nichiren Shonin’s special teaching and precious objects and were the orthodox succession and gradually they came to proclaim different doctrines and set up conflicting theories.
From an accumulation of several personal letters, and excerpts from the Manual of Nichiren Buddhism by Rev. Senchu Murano, he states:
Taisekiji Temple preserves the so-called “Two Transfer Documents.”
According to the Dictionary of Buddhist Terms and Concepts, published by Nichiren Shoshu International Center in 1983, these documents are:
1. “Nichiren Ichigo Guho Fuzoku Sho” supposedly written by Nichiren at Minobu in September 1282
This document says that Nichiren transferred the entirety of his teachings to Nikko and entrusted him with the mission of propagating true Buddhism.
2. “Minobusan Fuzoku Sho” supposedly written by Nichiren on October 13, 1282.
This document says that Nichiren appointed Nikko as the High Priest of Minobusan Kuonji, and proclaimed that all the disciples of Nichiren should follow Nikko.
The documents are listed as the “Minobu Sojo” and the “Ikegami Sojo” in the Nichiren Shu Shugaku Zensho, Volume II.
Both documents appear for the first time in the “Kyakugojikkajo”, written by Nikkyo (1428-1489) in 1480. The contents of the two documents in this mentioning are different from what are preserved at Taisekiji Temple today. This is proof that several forgeries had already been made by the time of Nikkyo. Nichido (1283-1341), the fourth Chief Priest of Taisekiji Temple, clearly states in his “Nikkyo Shonin Goden Soan (The Biography of Nikko) that Nikkyo stayed at Minobu for three years, not six as falsely reported.
Minobu Sojo bears the statement that the Hommon no Kaidon should be established at Fujisan Hommonji. Fujisan Hommonji is another name for Nishiyama Hommonji, which was founded by Nichidai (1294-1394), who had been ousted from Kitayama Hommonji due to a succession dispute. It appears the Monbu Sojo may have been forged by a chief priest of Nishiyama Hommonji. At one time, Nishiyama Hommonji was on friendly terms with Taisekiji. Therefore, Taisekiji had no objection to keeping the document although the place of the Kaidan was assigned to Nishiyama Hommonji, and not to Taisekiji. The two temples became hostile to each other after Taisekiji produced the Ita Honzon. Incidentally, the dictionary published by Nichiren Shoshu omits the statement about Fujisan Hommonji in the Minobu Sj that the Hommon no Kaidan should be established at Fujisan Hommonji.
Nichi-u the fourth Chief Priest of Taisekiji Temple said this honzon was transferred from Yashiro to Taisekiji, therefore making Taisekiji the only temple which preserves the most legitimate honzon.
BUT…in the “Fuji-isseki-monto-zonji-no-koto” by Nikko, it states that Honzons should not be engraved on a plank, because it would belittle the value of handwriting.
Quite interestingly, the dictionary published by the Nichiren Shoshu omits the statement about Fujisan Hommonji in the Minobu Sojo that the Hommon no Kaidan should be established at Fujisan Hommonji.
These forgeries were made not by Nikko, but by some of his successors who wished to justify their school by claiming that it was orthodox while other branches of Nichiren Buddhism were not."